MAUN — Cattle exports to Zimbabwe from foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)-affected areas will resume next month as Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) battles to reduce overstocking in areas like Ngamiland.
Report by Mmegi
Botswana’s Agriculture ministry permanent secretary Micus Chimbombi said this in a meeting in which Ngamiland beef ranchers condemned the BMC for failing to find reliable markets for their FMD-affected cattle.
The farmers said BMC promised markets in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but nothing had been forthcoming from the parastatal.
The farmers said since FMD outbreak in the district in 2008, they had been unable to sell their animals, resulting in the cattle population reaching 400 000. The district’s carrying capacity is 300 000 cattle.
According to official figures, more than 10 000 cattle perished due to drought in the district in 2012 with communal farmers being the most affected.
Chimbombi told farmers that cattle sales to Zimbabwe would resume in February.
This follows the finalisation of a new deal between BMC and Cold Storage Company (CSC) of Zimbabwe.
The deal was first signed in 2011, but exports were stopped last year as CSC reportedly owed BMC more than P2 million for cattle.
Under the agreement, 20 000 cattle from the Ngamiland were to be exported to Bulawayo.
The new deal will cover not only Ngamiland farmers, but also other FMD-hit areas in Botswana.
Chimbombi, who is a BMC board member, said all the requirements had been met for exports to resume.